Episode #108. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 19 together: Paul baptizes twelve more in the name of Jesus; the Seven Sons of Sceva meet their match; and a huge riot breaks out in Ephesus.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #108. Today we’ll read Acts chapter 19 together: Paul baptizes twelve more in the name of Jesus; the Seven Sons of Sceva meet their match; and a huge riot breaks out in Ephesus.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
I’m excited for you to read Acts 19 today. It has a great lesson highlighting the difference between how each of us can be used by God in a mighty way if our hearts are right. But if we are self-serving and power-hungry, it can go bad quickly. We see it at the beginning of the Bible between Cain and Abel and we see it today with the Seven Sons of Sceva. However, it seems we have yet another example of how all things work together for good for the called of God. Not only was there a newfound respect for the name of Jesus after the debacle with the seven brothers, but it motivated many to confess their own dabbling in the black arts, hand over their magic books and burn them.
Acts Chapter 19:
Twelve Disciples of John the Baptist
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
“No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
“Into what then were you baptized?” he asked them.
“Into John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy. Now there were about twelve men in all.
In the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus
Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples, and conducted discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
Demonism Defeated at Ephesus
God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands, so that even facecloths or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.
Now some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists also attempted to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I command you by the Jesus that Paul preaches!” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were doing this. The evil spirit answered them, “I know Jesus, and I recognize Paul — but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them, overpowered them all, and prevailed against them, so that they ran out of that house naked and wounded. When this became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, they became afraid, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high esteem.
And many who had become believers came confessing and disclosing their practices, while many of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them in front of everyone. So they calculated their value and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver. In this way the word of the Lord spread and prevailed.
The Riot in Ephesus
After these events, Paul resolved by the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem. “After I’ve been there,” he said, “It is necessary for me to see Rome as well.” After sending to Macedonia two of those who assisted him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
About that time there was a major disturbance about the Way. For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said, “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods. Not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin — the very one all of Asia and the world worship.”
When they had heard this, they were filled with rage and began to cry out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” So the city was filled with confusion, and they rushed all together into the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions. Although Paul wanted to go in before the people, the disciples did not let him. Even some of the provincial officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent word to him, pleading with him not to venture into the amphitheater. Some were shouting one thing and some another, because the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.
Some Jews in the crowd gave instructions to Alexander after they pushed him to the front. Motioning with his hand, Alexander wanted to make his defense to the people. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
Wise City Clerk
When the city clerk had calmed the crowd down, he said, “People of Ephesus! What person is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple guardian of the great Artemis, and of the image that fell from heaven? Therefore, since these things are undeniable, you must keep calm and not do anything rash.
For you have brought these men here who are not temple robbers or blasphemers of our goddess. So if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a case against anyone, the courts are in session, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. But if you seek anything further, it must be decided in a legal assembly. In fact, we run a risk of being charged with rioting for what happened today, since there is no justification that we can give as a reason for this disturbance.” After saying this, he dismissed the assembly.
There are mental bullet-points that stand out in my mind in regard to the riot at Ephesus. In general, I think we can agree that nothing was accomplished by this riot. Okay, I was going to avoid saying this but it’s like an elephant in the room. It’s curious to me that we just happen to be reading Acts amidst the backdrop of the riots going on in many of our cities right now. There are no coincidences in God’s economy and it is no accident that chapter 19 is on the docket today.
We would do well, I believe, to glean from these events, tools that we can apply in our present times. So much seems to be parallel. Innocent people were being injured, blind rage led the charge, and many didn’t even know why they were there. Then, there was the fear that Paul would be torn apart. Praise God that He provided this level-headed city clerk to calm the crowd. Who will be the voice of reason today?
Let’s pray. Father God, we as a country need You so badly right now. Your Word says that no one is in authority that You didn’t put there. We pray, Lord, for those that You have placed in authority. Give them boldness to speak the truth, give them an extra measure of wisdom, and courage to be the voice of reason. And, Lord, as individuals, I pray that our conversations would always center around Your truths and always reflect the love of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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